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Grand Bahama Open adds to island’s golf resurgence

Another major golf tournament, the Grand Bahama Open, is scheduled for April 6-7 at the Lucayan Reef Golf Course.

There is a long way to go, but the climate is most encouraging for the resurgence of golf on Grand Bahama.

Those who became associated with the game just over the last three decades or so would understandably not be familiar with the glory days of golf on Grand Bahama. There was the time, however, when Grand Bahama boasted six 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course. I refer to the Shannon, Lucayan, Reef, Ruby, Emerald and West End 18-hole courses.

The Fortune Hills Course afforded players shorter rounds as preferred, over nine holes. Today, just one facility, the Lucayan Reef Golf Course, is capable of hosting an 18-hole tournament, and it is in bad shape. Fortune Hills retains its nine-hole monopoly.

The situation is not palatable at all. Nevertheless, the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF), through the amazing efforts of Northern Division Director Ambrose Gouthro and his associates, such as Allen Gardner, have been fostering an exciting trend of competitions. They and other private individuals and organizations are coordinating meaningful events annually now, and the prospect for the future of golf on Grand Bahama looks quite good, despite thesingle 18-hole course reality.

The one positive aspect for golf on Grand Bahama, as it relates to playing venues, must be maximized. The Lucayan Reef Golf Course is owned by the government of The Bahamas.

That speaks volumes! The time is appropriate for golf leaders on Grand Bahama to seek an audience with Senator and Minister of Statefor Grand Bahama(GB) in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwasi Thompson. I have found the senator to be balanced. He recognizes the plight of the GB golf fraternity and it is my belief, he will be accommodating.

There is great golfing promise on Grand Bahama for sure. A highly successful Calvin Cooper Memorial was just concluded last weekend. The Jonathon Gouthro Memorial is scheduled for March 9 and, as aforementioned, the BGF’s Northern Region is gearing up for the open.

“This event attracts golfers from the United States and Canada, as well, of course, islands in our country other than just New Providence and Grand Bahama. It’s a flighted event and the various flights pay tribute to past stalwarts of the game,” said Gouthro.

Without a doubt, the Grand Bahama Open adds to the resurgence of golf in the area.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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